Locals gather to honor 'Hometown Heroes'

Brandon Paykamian • Jun 29, 2019 at 9:09 PM

Local residents gathered at the Mall at Johnson City Saturday to salute the region’s members of the military, law enforcement and emergency services for this year’s Hometown Heroes festival. 

“Local heroes play such a vital role in our community. This event is our way to show our appreciation for their service and to give our neighbors the opportunity to do the same,” Ashley Grindstaff, the mall’s general manager, said ahead of the event. “Hometown Heroes is one small way we can pay tribute to our local heroes who keep us safe every day.”

The free family festival featured activities including cookie decorating from Great American Cookie Company, a K-9 demonstration from the Johnson City Police Department, EMS presentations, face painting and a concert from Logan Mize and Jon Langston.

Johnson City Fire Department Firefighter Andrew Scott joined the department in 2017. He said community outreach is among some of his favorite aspects of the job, and he enjoys teaching children about what he does. 

“It’s been great just meeting the kids, showing them around and teaching them fire safety and about the tools on the truck,” he said. “I get to go around and show them what we have, and I sometimes get to learn myself.” 

Johnson City Police Department Capt. Gerald Harrell said it’s important for the police to make connections with the local community.

“Anytime you can get the community together and get support, it’s always a good thing,” he said. “We’re very fortunate here in Johnson City to have a tight-knit group of community supporters, and anytime we can foster that and make that better, it feels good.”